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NSAC - Policy Specialists - (3 openings)

Location:  Washington, DC

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of over 120 grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. NSAC is currently seeking candidates for three Policy Specialist positions. These positions are located at NSAC’s DC office on Capitol Hill and are full-time exempt positions. Each one of five Policy Specialists at NSAC reports to NSAC’s Policy Director.

NSAC advocates on a wide range of federal farm and food policy issues, including research, conservation, food systems, farm programs, and food safety. Each Policy Specialist focuses on a variety of those issues and interacts with coalition members through issue-specific policy committees.

The three open positions focus on:

Position 1:  Legislation and federal regulations that relate to food safety, product labeling, and other policies and programs that support market access for family farmers and local and regional food enterprises;

Position 2:  Federal agricultural research, education, and extension policy and programs, and overarching coordination responsibility for NSAC’s work on organic agriculture, across the full range of NSAC’s policy portfolio; and

Position 3:  Family farm and sustainability issues, with a specific focus on commodity programs, crop insurance, market competition, and agriculture and immigration issues.

In addition, each policy specialist also: (a) Serves as a secondary staff for another issue cluster (an assignment that will be determined once the successful candidates are on board), and (b) Engages as a member of the NSAC Policy Team with the NSAC Diversity Committee, furthering our racial equity efforts. 

Position Description -- NSAC’s Policy Specialists:

  • Act as the lead staff to one of NSAC’s five Issue Committees. The three positions we are hiring for will staff these committees: (1) Food System Integrity (FSI), (2) Research, Education and Extension (REE), and (3) Farming Opportunities and Fair Competition (FOFC), helping the Committee develop and advance administrative, regulatory and legislative priorities
  • Advocate with executive branch agencies (USDA, FDA, EPA, etc.) on a regular basis, and on Capitol Hill as needed
  • Draft policy materials, including policy papers, testimony, legislation, rulemaking comment letters, and regular policy blog posts
  • Contribute to the organization’s annual planning, priority setting, fundraising, and coalition-wide meetings
  • Apply an equity lens to all of the above, and strive to advance racial equity both within the coalition’s internal processes and through its external campaigns and policy goals
  • Represent NSAC at a variety of partner meetings and coalitions both in DC and around the country
  • Represent NSAC at conferences and to the media as needed

 General Qualifications

  • A deep understanding of and passion for sustainable agriculture and food systems
  • A strong working knowledge of the federal policy-making process
  • Two or more years of legal, regulatory, agency, legislative, or lobbying experience, or other significant agricultural policy experience
  • Excellent written and verbal communications and public speaking skills, including ability to translate complex federal regulations and policies into farmer-friendly materials and talks
  • Ability to both work independently and be a good team player
  • Commitment to working collaboratively with a wide, diverse range of partners and colleagues
  • Willingness to work around a demanding administrative deadlines and congressional schedule
  • Willingness to travel domestically several times a year
  • Background with grassroots advocacy campaigns a plus
  • Experience with print, radio, and online media a plus
  • Experience with large, multi-organization grassroots coalitions a plus
  • Bilingual fluency in a language other than English a plus (Spanish, Hmong, Creole, etc.)

 Specific Qualifications

Position (1) Food Systems Integrity

  • A strong working knowledge of the federal rulemaking process and administrative law
  • Legal background, including administrative law experience, preferred but not required
  • Background in produce and/or meat and poultry food safety policy a plus

Position (2) Research, Education and Extension

  • A strong agricultural research and education background
  • Interest in and knowledge of policy issues related to food and agricultural research
  • An advanced degree in a science/research-related discipline a plus

Position (3) Farming Opportunities and Fair Competition

  • A strong grasp of federal farm programs and their impact on the structure and sustainability of agriculture
  • Advanced work in agricultural economics or policy preferred but not required
  • Experience working in a Congressional office

Compensation and Benefits -- Salary is on a competitive non-profit scale, $55,000+, and will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. NSAC offers an excellent employer paid benefits package and a collaborative work environment.

Application -- Please send resume, your salary requirements, the names and contact information of three references, and a brief cover letter including an explanation of your interests in sustainable agriculture and federal policy, and which position(s) of the three you are applying for, to NSAC at Please combine all documents into one PDF application. All communications will be treated confidentially. Resume reviews begin immediately. No phone calls please.

NSAC is committed to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce and strongly encourages applications from groups that have been historically under-represented, including but not limited to women and people of color. Please also see NSAC’s Statement on Racial Equity. NSAC makes hiring decisions without regard to gender, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, or any other protected class.